Super Punch: "Dell laptops are terribly low quality and you shouldn't buy one"

John at Super Punch had such a farcically bad time trying to get service on a new Dell laptop that turned out to be a lemon that it prompted him to document it in eye-watering detail in a post called "Dell laptops are terribly low quality and you shouldn't buy one." I'm convinced.

I called Tuesday afternoon and was told that the LCD was broken and that my warranty did not cover fixing it. I pointed out that the laptop was only three weeks old, and was clearly defective - - I had never dropped it, and indeed had never taken it out of my house. The service agent was unmoved and told me that he would do me a favor and only charge me $200 to fix the screen (instead of the actual cost of $400).

I asked to speak to a supervisor, who told me that "LCD leakage" occurred, and that such a problem was not covered by my warranty. I asked what would have caused such a problem, and he told me it was likely caused by opening or closing the laptop. I told him that a brand new laptop that breaks on account of its intended use was defective, and thus any needed repair was covered by my warranty. He insisted that I would have to pay for the repairs. I asked to speak to his supervisor. He told me that no supervisor was available, but that one would call me on Wednesday.

Super Punch: Dell laptops are terribly low quality and you shouldn't buy one


  1. knew this since 2001. Surprises me that people are just now realizing. What startling revelation will be next? Ink prices are ridiculously high for how little you get in the cartridge? SHOCKING! /end sarcasm

    1. I think you are missing your begin tag for the sarcasm.  You would think boingboing would check that you have all the proper matched tags in a comment… but no..  anyway, that’s why your end tag showed up in the actual comment instead of applying the sarcasm attribute as you intended.

      1. I think you are missing an understanding of a fairly common net convention. Since putting the begin tag at the start would spoil the joke, people making this kind of joke don’t do so. This is possible because people aren’t writing actual HTML, it’s just joke-HTML. Hope this helps! /officiously helpful

        1. Nope, pretty sure SofaKing totally understands that net convention.
          The difference is that he included his begin tag, resulting in a perfectly formed sarcastic comment (with no messy hanging tags).

      1. I stopped buying Dell laptops BEFORE THEY WERE EVEN MADE.

        Hm, I think we need a competitive-coolness tag.

      1. I finally got rid of my printer when I realized that I had to buy new ink (to replace the dried out one) every time I printed, which was about once a year.  For the price, I could have hired a calligrapher.

  2. Here’s the missing link:

  3. I just bought a new Dell laptop and I’m sheepish to tell you all this but:  I love it. 

    Our experience with Dells is different than the ‘normal’ user, I think.  We buy the Latitudes from the Small Business department of Dell. (We do have a small business.)  I’ve never had problems such as John’s (*knock wood*) but when I have called the Small Biz customer service they have really been helpful beyond belief. 

    On balance, I know that the other end of the Dell spectrum (IE: for the ‘regular users’)  can suck it big time.  I’m not blind in my adoration for my new Dell.  But, I do feel lucky to have avoided getting a lemon, especially after 4 or 5 Latitudes in my laptop-using lifetime.

    1. My experience has been similar to yours.  I’ve rarely had anything go wrong with my Latitudes, and when I did, the response was pretty awesome.  The only thing to go wrong with my current laptop – after almost three years of heavy use – was the DVD-rw drive was permanently open.  I *emailed* tech support and they sent me a replacement drive along with a prepaid label for returning the old one.  No payment info needed, nothing.  I swapped it and mailed the old one back.  Just great.

      I think they must have radically different business versus consumer divisions, and it seems the consumer division needs to learn some lessons from the business one.

    2. This * 1000. The consumer support from Dell is hideous, but the business support is worth every penny. The business support team is in a completely different building, different phone numbers, different parts warehouses, everything. It’s like they’re two different companies with the same name on the door…

      1.  Agree, I used to purchase and maintain 200+ dell towers and laptops and was always impressed with their support.  The PC’s rarely had hardware problems and when they did Dell quickly replaced the troubled part with little hassle.  

  4. It seriously surprises me people are still buying Dell products expecting them to be anything more than cheap crap that’s made to fail. That “award-winning customer service” Dell used to throw around as a marketing point? You wouldn’t have to tout it so much unless you were regularly getting customer service calls and tickets due to problems with your products.

    1. But they’re way cheaper!  So anyone buying a more expensive machine is stupid and douchey.

      …Or so I keep getting told.

  5. Dell and Windows are a match made in bottom-feeding low-quality heaven.   Save money, your time is worthless!

  6. in related news, my cousin’s friend one time bought a microwave at sears and it gave his cat a headache and it turned out to be CAT CANCER so go like my I Hate Sears Cat Cancer FB page.

    what even is this post? it’s called, and they have a method and decades of experience helping people decide what to buy. this, on the other hand, is a blog post from one guy. with a blog. 

    yawn. anecdote != data.

    1. Doesn’t seem like the scandal of the century. More like the usual problem of telephone customer service being told to always try to convince the customer the problem is their fault. If you don’t do that, you get fired.

      My mother recently ignored all my advice and went into a store where the sales assistant sold her a top-of-the-line HP business laptop, when all she needs is web browsing, email and the ability to look at photos. I felt like crying when she said it didn’t have Solitaire on it. I told her to just take it back, but somehow she thinks people in retail sales are all “nice boys” or something.

      1. If you don’t do that, you get fired.

        And it will always be that way, because there is a ready supply of apologists to line up and defend businesses who express their gratitude by wiping their ass on the couch.

  7. Hard to judge that one without photos. From the original article it’s not clear wether or not he got charged for the repairs. I’ve worked in customer support for a manufacturer that kinda rhymes on “singsong”, and it was also their policy that if something arrived literally broken or shattered, it’s usually not covered by warranty. Yes, there are poorly manufactured units which break just from legitimate use. But there are also customers who just tell you lies. 
    However, it would have been much more professional to not “threaten” the customer right away, but tell him he could send it in and would be contacted if it turns out the damage was a result of mishandling. That’s how my employer handled it, at least – point out the risk if it was the customers fault, but don’t accuse them if they insist it wasn’t their fault.

    1. It’s difficult to tell from the article (an inherently biased point-of-view) if this was just another case of someone accidentally breaking their screen and then getting whiny about it. I was a customer service manager in an electronics retailer for a couple of years, and on a weekly basis we’d have someone come in who had broken the screen on their new laptop and *demanded* replacements. We sold insurance for damaged screes, but no one ever bought it. No one would ever own up to cracking a screen, either. They always somehow broke themselves, often with a distinctly pencil-shaped dent…
      Also, as a long-time tech, let me tell you that the quality of laptops, from best to worst, goes something like this: Apple > Asus > Fujitsu > Toshiba > Dell > HP > Acer > everything else. Most of them are built by a few different ODMs anyway, but quality can vary. There’s also always that free market “Catch-22” in which manufacturers only make cheaply-built pieces of shit because that’s all consumers are willing to pay for, and consumers only purchase cheaply-built pieces of shit because that’s all manufacturers are making.

  8. So in the article it seems it got fixed and is on its way back to him? We never found out.
    So the only problem was the call centre guy, and his supervisor, didn’t know what they were talking about?
    As a former call centre worker myself I can tell you that’s really not all that unusual – staff turnover at those places is so high they barely train anyone.

  9. Sounds like he got a lemon and Dell definitely should have treated him better.

    I do have to say though that my company has been buying Dell laptops (mostly Latitudes) for the better part of ten years and we have had warranty/quality issues with maybe a handful of them (out of hundreds). Most of the problems we have had have been user-caused, and not due to quality or warranty issues. Others have been expected- like hard disk and memory failures after many years of service. I’ve personally had a lot more quality issues with laptops from HP and IBM/Lenovo.

    It’s obvious from this and from what I have heard elsewhere that Dell treats their business customers a LOT better than consumers, which is very unfortunate.

    1. “Dell treats their business customers a LOT better than consumers”

      Simple solution: when buying from Dell, pretend to be a small business. All you have to do is make up a business name and buy from the small business part of their website, and from what I’ve read this is quite common. I’ve even seen people suggesting you just put your copy your name in the business slot, although I wouldn’t risk that. They do sometimes ask what your business name is as a security question, so make sure you remember it!

      I bought a laptop from their business line (Vostro), and I’ve been very happy with support the couple of times I’ve had to use them. What’s more it worked out cheaper this way, because you could extend the warranty to three years without upgrading to the most expensive type. The laptop doesn’t look quite as flashy as their consumer ones, but I actually prefer it this way, since maybe it’s a bit less likely to get stolen.

      A small warning though: I went back on their website recently, and it seems like the small business section had a few consumer laptops listed. You can tell because the support options are different; you want “in-office” rather than “in-home” to be an option, even if that’s not the one you actually pick.

  10. There’s a crucial detail being left out here.
    Dell replaced the screen free of charge after one phone call. (Shipping was also free.)

  11. knew this since 2001. Surprises me that people are just now realizing.

    It’s news to me — my n=1 sample is that Dell laptops are great. That said, I don’t buy enough machines to be following the press all the time, and my previous PC experience was with e-machines desktops my adviser bought from wallmart, which makes Dell look stunningly high in quality.

  12. Had  a few Dell laptops, really liked them.  

    Had a screen go bad in one, got great tech service.  Only reason I stopped buying Dell was they stopped offering 15″ WUXGA laptops.  

    Now all they have for that screen size are short-screens.

  13. To counter all the Dell-bashing around here, I’ve had a Dell Precision M65 laptop for 6 years, and I love it. Granted, it was a high-end laptop when I bought it and I paid through the ear for it (>$2k), but I got what I paid for: a high-quality, long-lasting laptop that’s followed me around the world with minimal wear.

    Of course, it’s computer hardware and it doesn’t compare to last-gen performance and weight, but that’s another topic.

  14. “I had never dropped it, and indeed had never taken it out of my house. The service agent was unmoved and told me that he would do me a favor and only charge me $200 to fix the screen (instead of the actual cost of $400).”

    That’s really all I need to hear. This doesn’t just apply to Dell, but, it seems, to any company I’ve done business with in the past six months that’s made a mistake that was undeniably their fault.

    Even though in every case the company has either fixed the problem free of charge or given me a credit they’ve always said they were only fixing it “as a favor” and suggested that, in spite of all evidence, the problem must somehow be my fault. (Because, for instance, I frequently print invoices that are $200 more than the item’s list price just so I can go to the trouble of spending two hours calling customer service to question the charge).

    I know corporate responsibility has always been an oxymoron, but it seems that more and more customer service representatives are being trained to not only never admit responsibility but to always place blame on the customer.

    1. Anthem is the worst.  I had to spend about 100 hours filing many appeals for different wrongful denials, all arising out of a single few hours in the emergency room for a procedure that everyone agrees was covered.

      Every time I would wear them down and they would eventually relent with “we’re doing this to be nice not because we screwed up”.

      If a corporation were a person they would be an antisocial psychotic.

  15. I don’t know what consumer protection laws are like in the US, but it the UK whether or not something is covered under “warranty” is BS. You have a *reasonable* expectation that goods sold to you are fit for purpose, and don’t break within a *reasonable* time. These are your statutory rights. If his screen broke within 3 weeks, through normal use, this is clearly not reasonable. Note also that whoever sells you the item is responsible for this – don’t let them fob you off and pass you to the manufacturer instead.

    If you find yourself in this situation, explain calmly that the item is clearly defective, and by law the shop must replace it. If they refuse, explain calmly that you will take them to the small claims court. If they still refuse, do so – this is extremely easy to do [see the official government site at].

    Most stores will relent once it’s clear you know your rights (you may need to get hold of a supervisor first..!). But don’t hesitate to go to small claims to enforce these if you need to – it’s very simple to do so.

  16. Dell is an ok brand.  I’ve had some crappy ones and some good ones.  I bought the covet a few years ago and the performance was great, but the hard drive chirped, the LED screen went bad, and it overheated a lot.  This is way too many problems for a $4300 laptop.  Now i have a much smaller and lighter latitude with maxed out performance and its just slow.  even out of the box its slow.  My next machine will probably not be a Dell.  I’m thinking of getting an emachine because they are junk, but not much worse than dell and a lot cheaper.

    1. In favor of eMachines.  Yes, they are junk.  But, I have a six year old one still humming on my desk.  I also have a toshiba laptop and an Asus eee netbook.  If my eMachine breaks I scavenge quasi-compatible parts to fix it (upgraded the sound card with one from an old Dell not too long ago, scavenged a CD burner from another mixed parts machine, etc.)  Parts are cheap and repairs are minimal.  It’s getting slow in it’s old age, but if I took the time to crack open the case, clean the fan, and re-install a legitimate copy of the OS it would probably work better.  Then again, it’s six years old and is now under the loving care of an eight year old, so why bother.  The point being, eMachines, for the money, aren’t bad.  I’m not sure how I feel about my Toshiba yet.  It was bigger and heavier than I expected when I ordered it, but it runs pretty fast (after I got rid of the crapware).  My Asus started off on Windows, but I had so many issues with viruses (I tried a few different anti virus and malware programs before throwing in the towel) that I switched it to Linux and poof no more problems.  

  17. Wait, so one guy, got one bad screen on a laptop, and so he’s declared that all Dell laptops are low quality?  I defy anyone to name a brand of laptop that has never had a bad LCD anywhere ever.  And since every brand of laptop has at sometime, somewhere had a bad screen, clearly we can conclude that all laptops are always low quality and no one should ever buy a laptop again.

    Granted, he got some weird run-around with Dell’s customer service, but that shouldn’t be all that much of a surprise.  That’ll happen at a lot of companies;  But if you really want to bash on Dell, let’s stick to pointing out the ACTUAL problem that is the customer service, and not wildly jump to conclusions about hardware quality.

    1. Granted, he got some weird run-around with Dell’s customer service, but that shouldn’t be all that much of a surprise.

      Bullshit. Dell sells commodities, service is pretty much all that differentiates them, at least to the degree that you minimize his experience as “weird.”

  18. So since everybody seems to hate Dell… what *is* a good laptop brand if you’re wanting a reasonable piece of kit for a reasonable price? Apples seem lovely but they are expensive.

      1. That’s not very helpful. 

        EDIT: By which I mean… with an Apple you get great design and build quality, but have to compromise on your budget. I’m not overly bothered by the design. I can live with poorer build quality so long as it doesn’t affect reliability. As a result I’m happy to compromise on those two so that I don’t have to compromise to the same extent on budget.

        In other words, you get what you pay for, but if you’re not interested in some aspects of what you’re paying for, why pay for it?

        It seems unlikely that there’s only Apple laptops and shit laptops, so I’m interested in recommendations from those who have have one that is neither.

        1. The point being, there are no super-deals. Dell products are about what you’d expect for their price point, and the Windows laptop market is so highly price driven, they all tend to have pretty poor build quality.

        1. Heh. Perhaps it should be, “You do not get any more than you pay for, although less is always an option.”

    1. My rules for buying a computer:  Buy the cheapest thing that will get the job done. 

      Ideally buy one priced at less than 50% what you are willing to pay.  Then in a couple years, take the money you saved and buy a new computer.   The new computer will likely out perform the computer you could have afforded a few years back.

      I’ve had good luck buying from MicroCenter.  You can find really decent name brand laptops for under $400.

    2. Lenovo laptops are good quality – especially the Thinkpads, and they tend to be cheaper than similarly specced Macbooks. The Thinkpads have a world beating keyboard too, I think Cory uses one.

    3. I got a great Acer from newgg for only $650 about 8 months ago and love it. I used to recommend Asus, but after several laptops developed issues with the video cable to the screen, I can’t quite give them glowing reviews. But I still have found Acer and Asus to have the most power/$

    4. Asus tends to be pretty good. Thing is, a “reasonable price” for a laptop isn’t $300. For that price, you get a piece of junk with a 3-years life expectancy at the most, and a 50% chance of having a serious material defect somewhere down the line.

      So, even if you don’t game, it’s worth getting a *good* PC, especially for laptops. Don’t buy the cheapest one, whatever the brand – even cheap Sonys fall apart quick. A good $800 laptop will last twice as long and have less problems.

      All things being equal, I tend to favor Asus (I’m 23, I’ve had my first laptop at 18, and I’m currently on my second Asus. The first one ran for five years without a hiccup, then its graphical card fried). They seem to have slightly better build quality in their mid- to high-price range. I’ve heard some good things about Sony, too, but they might be a little more expensive.

  19. Yes, we all know that a variety of laptops have a variety of problems.  I have no idea why this guy is complaining.  Unless they bill him for a repair he didn’t authorize.  It sounds to me like he got exactly what he wanted after the problem was escalated.

  20. @boingboing-c41dd99a69df04044aa4e33ece9c9249:disqus  :As an IT manager- I love Dell and often recommend them. I have heard several bad stories about retail/consumer customer service issues, like the one in this story, though. My personal laptops are both HP, and I love them too. I’ve had excellent technical support and customer service from them (at least as of almost 2 years ago, which is the last time I called them for anything). My concern with them is they seem to want to abandon the consumer market, and at least tried to briefly last year, which may mean they have gone downhill.

    1. Agreed.  HP used to be my solid go-to for midrange client laptops; they’re not as reliably well-designed as they were but there’s still some solid options. Not as tacky as Acer or as exploitative as Dell. As always, research before buying pays off.

  21. My sister had a similar story. After endless issues & service calls, over a year after the problems began, Dell finally shipped her a replacement laptop. Instead of sending a replacement equal in value to what my (poor student) sister originally paid, they sent her a replacement that cost what her now >12 month old laptop was currently “worth” on the market. It was heavier. It didn’t have integrated bluetooth. And oh yeah, it also had problems :-/ Infuriating. Never again.

  22. This seems like more an issue with spotty customer service than systemic problems with Dell hardware.

    Which sucks, but customer service sucks EVERYWHERE. It was the first thing to get tossed in the trash can when we shifted from mom and pop stores to big box. Acting like Dell is the worst company in the world may make you feel better, but it won’t make it true.

    1. but customer service sucks EVERYWHERE

      So let’s just accept it and live with the clogged toilet overflowing into the kitchen forever.

  23. Ha wow and shazzam!

    I was just at the dell forum trying to find out why this dog died.
    Most of what the dell people posted was non sense, causing me to post this.

    I recieved this from DEll

    Your forum post was deleted by a moderator.

    Subject: Re: Buzzing noise from my Dell Dimension

    Posted to: Desktop General Hardware Forum

    Reason: Hello Blake2go,

    We are writing in reference to your post in the Dell Community. While we value your participation in the Dell Community, we have removed the post described above because it violates the Dell Community Terms of Use. You may remember that you agreed to abide by these Terms of Use when you registered with our website. If you would like to review the Terms of Use, you can find them at the following link:

    We encourage you to edit your post to comply with the Terms of Use, and resubmit it. In order to assist you in reposting your message, we note that your post violates our Terms of Use for the following reason(s):

    Your post contains language that we believe to be harassing, unlawful, or otherwise objectionable. Use of such language violates the Terms of Service, and must be deleted in order to allow your post. Prohibited words and phrases include those in which certain letters have been replaced with alternate characters. Unlawful language may include any statements that might reasonably be interpreted as a violation of the intellectual property rights of any person, including a trademark, copyright or patent.

    For your convenience, a copy of the original post also appears at the end of this message. Please keep in mind that continued violations of the Terms of Use may cause you to lose your posting privileges.

    Thanks for cooperating and participating in the Dell Community.


    Dell Community Administration Services
    This message is a private communication between the Dell Community and you and should not be posted to the message boards. Public posting of this message may result in immediate banning of your Dell Community account.

    Your post was submitted as a reply to the following thread:

    Well I have the same problem, turn on pc hear all start to run, BUZZING SOUND repeated
    From the answers here, not one, know it all ever stated whether there is in fact a** buzzer **on the dell boards, note that
    I used a small d in dell, what crap!
    No wonder the dell dude smoked weed…
    So I have plugged in and out all chips wires, have a priest come over and pray over it.
    So before I take a sledge hammer to this thing and post it to youtube, any of dellies wish to help?

    1. Truly shocking you got a post deleted for violating TOU when you violated the TOU. Maybe call your Congressman.

      1. Ah it is the thin skins of the corps. and those oh so dainty mods…
        I posted the above more to shake the tree to see the nuts fall out, then for any real hope of info.

        After 4 hrs traveling the lost city of dell, seeking…

        Though I do like the threat of posting their behavior and words here or there… kind of cute.

          1. I did not these are two separate nasty grams from dell,
            did you not read them?

            O well no sense of humor…. from boingboing no less, yow!

  24. I hope to god I’m not jinxing myself but my machine is a Dell. It’s about six or seven years old now, I think. I got it in a surplus store. It was fairly beat up and looked like it had been partially submerged in milk at one point. Despite this and despite a rough move across the country and often being clogged with dust and huge quantities of cat hair (I don’t know how one short-haired cat can shed so much) it’s been a trooper. Maybe I’ve got The One Good Dell. I dunno. The only problem I’ve had with it in all this time is that the DVD drive died. Which hasn’t really been a problem yet. It just means the next bit of software I buy will cost twenty or so bucks extra if I can’t download it. 

  25.  We used to use Latitudes at my work — the 610, 620, 810, 820 series etc were terrific, reliable laptops. The 5400 and 5500 series is horrible — on paper they should be faster in every regard, but they were inexplicably dog slow and fairly unreliable. Switched to HP Ultrabooks, which are great so far.

  26. Typing this from a dell lattitude D830, having another D830 (for the wife), D630 (work) and a D430 ( for the kid) (maybe noticing a pattern :) ?) in the house…
    my old folks also have a D830, all fine and dandy laptops , who work just as they should with excellent high res 1920×1200 screens for the D830’s .
    Things like all the situations described in the blog and all the posts below happen with ANY laptop brand and are most likely situated around a few models.
    Just Bad Luck…

    but indeed to bad it’s rather hard to find these day’s a laptop with decent screen resolution …
    most you find are “HD” types (High… yeah right)…

  27. I’ve owned 3 dell laptops over the past 8 years. They’ve been handed down as my computing needs increased, but they’re all still in daily use. Dells are the least sexy computers on the planet; I’m ok with that.

  28. This has happened to me twice with Dell and once with HP: computer runs slow, I pop the processor from the socket and there are several bent and/or missing pins. I can only imagine the number of failed motherboards that get tossed for this reason alone.

  29. Umm, does no one realize that Dell, HP, most Lenovo units, Acer, just about every major OEM laptop in the world is made by a handful of laptop manufactures?  And not a single one, but all of them.  Dell has multiple contracts with various vendors, so it’s no surprise that some models are really good, and other are complete rubbish.

    Several years ago I repaired them for a living and certain models of Latitudes were rock solid, while some Inspirons were so badly built you’d be lucky to make it through a year before sending it back.  That’s just the way most mid to low end electronics are built today.

    It seems to me he got a working laptop back and paid nothing.  If he is that upset by the whole ordeal why not sell it and get an HP.

    1. That’s just the way most mid to low end electronics are built today.

      Cheap and shitty.

      Of course, the path to improvement is to defend cheap and shitty.

      1. Well as a consumer I like think I have some say in the level of “shit sandwich” I purchase.  I do my research and determine if the price is acceptable for the level of functionality and quality that I desire.  If it is then it goes on the list for potential candidates.

        Sorry, but I’m not made of money.  And it really doesn’t matter if I was, just buying expensive stuff doesn’t mean it’s any more likely to fail or be rock solid if you don’t actually know what you are buying.

        1.  just buying expensive stuff doesn’t mean it’s any more likely to fail or be rock solid if you don’t actually know what you are buying

          Or, you do know what you’re buying and you also know it’s been marked up 2000%.  You know the person who made it was underpaid, would need a work permit in the United States, and half their wages were confiscated for food and shelter consisting of rice and a cement floor.

          You know there are fifteen million people out of work in the U.S., that half of the people in the United States ages 18-35 are unemployed and that half of all adults live at or near the poverty line.

          But it was cheap, so it’s okay if it’s shitty too.  Being cheap apparently makes up for everything else, because people will line up for days to defend it.

          1. Actually I know exactly what I buy because I am one of those 18-35 year old people who is unemployed.

            And I’m not defending anything because it’s cheap, I was simply stating that Dell like most OEM PC manufactures gets its laptops from a series of different third party companies, hence the variation in quality across different products.

            You can keep trolling with your socioeconomic viewpoints if you like, considering you are replying to me on an electronic device with parts from Asia I find it very ironic, but I’ve made my point and I’m done responding.

  30. This is narcissism and hubris at its finest. This is also a great example of a deductive fallacy known as a converse fallacy of accident – a dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter.
    If all the dogs you meet happen to be brown, it does not necessarily follow that all dogs everywhere are brown.

    1. If a restaurant serves shit for lunch to even a single customer, they will forever be known as the restaurant that served shit.   Even if every meal afterwards wins an award.

      The Latin term is “lunchum a quid ad dictum there’s shit on my plate.”

      1. Your analogy is a bit hyperbolic. The dell restaurant didn’t serve shit. They served a meal that was inadequate and poorly made. The waiter then refused to bring another dish.
        One bad dish and a crappy waiter doesn’t make everything the dell restaurant serves bad. We are taling about a company with $61,000490,000 in revenue for 2011.
        I’m not a Dell buyer or a Dell user. However, their customer base is huge. If this was a common problem with Dell computers, you would not see those kinds of numbers.

        1. “If this was a common problem with Dell computers, you would not see those kinds of numbers”

          and YOU are calling HIM out on fallacies?

          Ohhhhh Kayyyy. Enjoy the view, i see your high horse has plenty of straw.

          1. @mdhatter03:disqus Ok, I’ll bite, what is the fallacy of my argument? That’s observation and conclusion, Skippy.
            Dell buys their screens from the same suppliers as everyone else. They also fail at the same rate as their competitors. Oddly enough, when you spend a bit more $$$ on your laptop, the screen has a longer life. Go figure..
            The real issue was the support he received – not the laptop screen.

        2. Like all of those people who are openly terrified at WalMart destroying their community, but they want a good deal and are first in line at the grand opening.  They watch the news stories about how horrible WalMart is, but its just down the street and cheaper than going someplace else.

          People are lazy.  People are stupid.

          We have one person fighting over a screen being defective, how many people just forked over the $200 “gift to them” price to have the laptop fixed?

    2. This is also a great example of a deductive fallacy known as a converse fallacy of accident – a dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter.

      Oh, no he di’int!

  31. I have to admit, I see stories like this these days and my first reaction is “that guy is probably full of crap, he dropped that laptop and is now trying to bullshit his way to a free repair”. 

    But to be fair, I’ve been using various Dell laptops for 11 years now and while they certainly have their issues, in general they’ve been quite solid machines.  I don’t drop kick them around or anything, but I have an Inspiron 6000 that still runs great (the free battery replacement a few years ago was a new lease on life for the guy), several D series Latitude, and even the occasional C series Latitude kicking around.  (All of the C guy have dead batteries though).  Even the E series Latitudes that everyone seems to hate have been good to me, but I only have about a years worth of experience with them so far so I can’t talk about the long term reliability much.  Slow is not a word I would use with them however.

  32. Commenters here seem a bit thick. It’s not particularly useful to hear that your Dell didn’t break, since most products, even crappy ones, aren’t defective. What’s useful is knowing how Dell handled your warranty customer service when your Dell computer DID break.

    The post tells us that Dell has learned nothing from the 2005 Jeff Jarvis Dell Hell experience that supposedly restructured Dell’s customer service and their employees’ attitudes. (Just for fun, google jarvis dell hell market cap.)

    The lesson for consumers: If you believe that a company should stand by its products, don’t buy a Dell.

  33. I once had customer support problems with Dell, I ordered a desktop with a specific graphics card just when stocks ran out, I got an equivalent (but slightly worse) graphics card in its place. After a few phone calls they paid for a local PC repair dude to come out and swap out the graphics card. 

    The awesome part was, they didn’t replace it with the card I ordered, but a card that was Nvidia’s flagship at the time, a something something number GTX, orders of magnitude better than what they could have given me. (Edit: for clarification, at the time the card I ended up with was worth at least NZD $800 IIRC)

    Even though Dell screwed up my order, I went away happier then if my order had been fine.

  34. I’ve had two Dell desktops.  They both lasted more than six years.  When there was a problem, I had a repair person at my house the next day at no cost.  Maybe it’s just their laptops.

    1. In my experience, they’re like that with laptops too, both for businesses and privately, in the UK and US.

      My only grumble is a second-hand one: when reassembling a friend’s laptop after onsite support to fix a smashed audio jack, the tech forgot to reconnect the wifi card. It was about a year out of warranty by the time she mentioned to me that she’d noticed she had to sit a lot closer to the router since it was fixed: if she’d mentioned it to them, I suspect it’d have got fixed.

      As it was, their online maintenance manuals are *excellent*, so it was an easy job to fix it myself. Well, a pain in the ass because of the way it needed the whole rest of the machine taken apart to get to the wifi, but pretty straightforward since their docs led me through it so easily a kid could’ve done it.

  35. I have also used Dell machines for about ten years without any problems – and I work my computers hard. Additionally, an old co-worker of mine bought an Alienware machine from them and when the graphics card on it went, Dell actually sent a technician over to her house with a replacement card – for free. That pretty much blew my mind. 

  36. Dell’s laptops have had a horrendous reputation for years and years, but their monitors are decent.

  37. Yes, they are, and no you shouldn’t. I only hope this becomes more widely known.

    My girlfriend and I both bought Dell laptopswhen we went to college, and it’s a good thing we each sprung for the four year extended warranty with on-site service. Between the two of us we went through 2 CD drives, 2 screens, 6 keyboards, 2 hard drives, 7 OS reinstalls, a new fan, and 3 chargers, all of which (except 2-3 of the keyboards) broke through no fault of our own.

    The good news is that nowadays an average laptop, good enough for most users (Read: not for gaming, professional video editing, and the like), can be had for <$500, even from companies like Lenovo with a reputation for good quality. I've had good experiences with HP too.

    1. “companies like Lenovo with a reputation for good quality”

      You, sir, just made me squirt milk out my nose laughing. And I wasn’t even drinking milk.

      I would rank Lenovo as worst of the Big Names. Worst build quality, worst shovelware on their systems, worst driver support. I had my Vista Lenovo with an nVidia card for over a year before they released video drivers that allowed me to run anything 3D on it! I spent literally days cleaning shovelware off the machine and frobbing settings before I was happy using it.  The speaker jack worked loose of the soundboard just through little over a year of normal use: it wasn’t even properly soldered.

      I can’t speak for their support, as I didn’t get any extended warranty. Their online maintenance docs are pretty good. My sister’s Lenovo (same model) had the screen die about the same time, so she gave it to me for parts and I just used the audio card from that.

      1. Interesting. I’m surprised- my understanding is that quality & service are the reason so many businesses use thinkpads.

  38. A ten day turnaround time is not that bad, really, considering the holiday spree. Are you sure this isn’t a negative advertising campaign? That’s why I leave product names out of most of my posts. 

    And who knows what happened in those three weeks? Does he have kids, a cleaning lady, an overnight guest? Was he the ONLY person in his home for three weeks? It could easily have been damaged. 

    I have a very expensive Toshi Monitor. It’s wall mounted and no one will tell me how or why the LDC started leaking. It’s a wave, from the far right of the screen to the far left. (Personally, I think my roommate was playing ball with the dog indoors, but that’s a guess too)

    However, De11 seems to have a vast array of different warranty packages. Ask them to define the undefined; the term “hardware” is not universal. His laptop comes with a Hardware Warranty Support: 

    Hardware support for defects in materials and workmanship
    So, is the LCD display hardware or material? Maybe yes, maybe no.Lean towards a  yes if you are willing to spend hours on the phone.

  39. so unless i read his post wrong, he had a crap computer, sent it in, had to talk to some folks but ended up getting it shipped back fixed without having to pay? unless of course it was auto charged to a credit card.  if not he cant complain too much >_>

  40. I still use my my Latitude D800 almost daily with work.  I seem to recall that it was a special order / business model.  A lot of PDX area building automation systems have been tested and commissioned using it over the years.  It’s been lugged from project to project, left in the car trunk in hot and cold weather, spent hours turned on in dirty mechanical rooms with data loggers plugged into it and never missed a beat.   Don’t know if a modern Dell equivalent is available, but when it is time to buy again I will be checking into it for sure.

  41. I ran an eBay liquidation business for a while, where I sold items purchased from a major electronics retailer.  These units were damaged, defective, floor models, and customer returns.  I spent a LOT of time on the phone with customer service people.

    My experience is that Apple and Sony are as defective as HP and Dell.  A lot of the components come from the same factories, regardless of brand.  People just don’t get this.  They’re just electronics.  

    Here’s my impression of the major companies’ support teams:

    -Toshiba’s service didn’t make an impression on me either way, although I was generally disgusted with the quality of their laptops.  Things may be different now, though.

    -Panasonic Toughbook customer support was very difficult to navigate.  A lot of effort was required just to prove I was worthy of support, even when it was for the machine our company’s owner purchased an extended warranty for.

    -Samsung customer support was great.  I am a loyal Samsung customer.

    -Sony customer support was okay not great.  I got things fixed but their CSRs were a little too smart for their own good.  It’s often difficult to persuade a smart person he’s wrong.

    -Apple customer support sucked and I hated them.  A brand new machine got 4 months of free support.  After that, it was pay-to-play.  If you couldn’t clearly demonstrate the provenance of a machine, they wouldn’t talk to you at all.  If you have to pay money to establish that something is covered under warranty, that’t not really a warranty at all, is it?

    -HP customer service oddly found a warm place in my heart.  Their entry-level CSRs are based in several major cities in India.  They have a script to get through, and if you politely cooperate with them and let them complete their script, you will get what you want.  And if you don’t get what you want, you can call HP’s headquarters and route yourself to executive level customer support, and they are phenomenal.    All my PCs are HP now, and have been for several years.  This is because I can work with their support teams, not because I’m super happy with the machines themselves.

    -My experience with Dell support was erratic.  Sometimes they were very, very good, and sometimes they were garbage.  I think maybe the level of support you can get from them is tied to their share price.  I only used their consumer support (not business support).  This is because the Latitude CS I was issued in 2000 never had a problem, while the Inspiron I foolishly overpaid for was a turd.

    -Acer’s support is fine.  It doesn’t set the world on fire, but it gets the job done.  My wife has an entry level Acer laptop right now, and I’m not crazy about it, but Acer did take care of a warranty issue with the keyboard.

    1. Having been in a similar position I agree with 100% of this.

      And in my experience working on a Panasonic Toughbook is about like driving a nail into your face.  Outside the all-in-one iMac type of computers they are the most aggravating things to take apart.

      I will add Intel Premiere Partner support is phenomenal.  Dedicated phone support group, extended hours, free overnight and return shipping, and best of all intelligent.  Getting a server/cpu/motherboard replaced takes less than 5 minutes.

    2. Nice fair breakdown, thank you! I’ve changed internet providers for one reason;  One has walk-in centers, the other, a complicated phone tree and horrible telephone C.S.Reps. My decreased level of frustration is worth something. 

  42. I use a MAC Powerbook G4 purchased in 2003 and a Dell Inspiron 8300 Desktop purchased in 2003 and the Dell still works perfectly.  The Mac on the other hand is a pain in the ass.  I’ve replaced the power socket which broke a couple years ago and the battery no longer works.  

    I’m waiting for SSD prices to come down before I buy a new laptop and it won’t be a Mac or a Dell.  I expect I’ll still be using my Dell desktop though for another 3-4 years.

  43. I bought my home dell XPS laptop through a corporate employee purchase program with a megacorp.   I lucked out and got a dell deal that included 4 years of no-fault accident repair warranty for pennies on the dollar.

    If I hadn’t had that no-fault warranty this laptop would have been useless and uncovered after the first year of its life.  But with the service I’ve gotten the hard drive, motherboard, and keyboard all replaced twice, the screen replaced once, and the graphics card replaced once.  I’m very gentle with it and none of these issues was my fault.  If I had to pay for this service it would have quadrupled the cost of the laptop or worse.

    The warranty claims 24 hour service, but it has always taken more than that for the parts to arrive, and a few more days for the local guy to get aound to installing them.  The last straw was when I really needed my laptop fixed withn 24 hours because I was leaving on a trip where I needed the laptop; dell simply said sorry but we can’t do that and refused to tell me how fast their warranty says they will do it.

    I’m sad that my laptop will probably be a Mac, just as Apple is turning into 1984 mkII

  44. Laptop screens are notorious for this. Buried in fine print for most laptop sales literature, is the fact that screen damage or disfunction is never covered under warranty. Ever.

    So a fragile, defect, accident prone component that often has a replacement value roughly equal to the purchase price;  is never covered.

    As often as not, these kind of warranty service issues get to the same point “Sorry, we won’t fix it. Tough titties.” You may have tried the “let me talk to your manager” line of useless inquiry to obviously no avail.

    Most people think, “That’s it” They screwed me again and then hand over the cash for a fix that should be a warranty  RMA.

    If you are in the USA, its time to pull out the ultimate escalation. For 20 minutes of your time and a simple $35 filling fee, filing suit in small claims court will see your system repaired at no cost in a couple of weeks, at most (you’ll even get your filing fee back).

    As you are suing a corporation, you don’t even need to pay to have them professionally served. They’ll have a published service address that you can just FedEx the summons to.

    Over the years, I’ve won $350+ dollar judgements against IBM (Laptop), US Airways (canceled connecting flight), US Bank (poor service in processing loan – a $3000 win) and am currently filing against Acer (laptop). In all cases, the company in question gave me a “final answer” I found unacceptable and I let the legal system work for me to get payback. Small claims court rocks.

    The essential math here is that you make it cheaper for them to give you what you want than  to fly a lawyer out to fight your small claims suit in person. (And they have to have a representative in person. No mailing it in and they aren’t able to bury the suit in legalese).

    The only suit I’ve lost (at a cost of $35) was against Intuit; I happen to live and filed in the same county where they have their headquarters. They sent a paralegal to represent and in some 15 part sub-clause of the 50 page SLA found a gotcha that the judge found convincing enough.

    1. I’m no export on this, but wouldn’t it make sense to enact sensible warranty legislation to save everyone time and hassle?

      In most EU countries there is a mandated six-month warranty with the _seller_ (not manufacturer) where any fault is assumed to be a manufacturing defect unless the seller and/or manufacturer can prove otherwise. Reputable businesses will exchange defective products instantly, no questions asked. After that you have another one and a half years where the customer has to prove that the product was defective as the time of sale which is very difficult in practice; still, good retailers that value repeat business will try to accommodate their customers as well as they can during this two-year term.

      1. There’s a reason that warranty policies/product liability is the way it is in the USA; and it’s not necessarily (completely) broken.

        In Europe and most of the world, the role of the executive/legislative branch, is to closely regulate and monitor business to make sure that while they act in their own interest; the public is reasonably safeguarded against fraud and harm. ie. Business are rapacious and self-serving; Government keeps them in line.

        This is why you have huge ministries, who’s sole purpose is to churn out detailed, sometimes ridiculous seeming regulations, on what, where, how when things can be produced. On one hand its reassuring to a customer that; yes, there are concrete passenger rights for airline passengers.

        In the USA, the philosophical underpinings of consumer protection are completely different. Its assumed that effective regulation of the breadth and depth of business is an impossibility. Instead it is designed so that  business’s self-interest and the tort (ie. civil court) system functions as a the regulatory mechanism.

        It works surprisingly well. There’s a reason why American stores have return policies that are generous to the point of disbelief. It’s not because there is a law requiring it. The free market has aligned their self-interest with their customer’s.

        And it explains those ridiculous, on the surface, million dollar liability lawsuits for hot coffee a customer spilled on them self. Their purpose is not to determine the dollar value of the pain and suffering of the victim; its a regulatory signal. “There is no regulation against serving 1,000,000 degree coffee to customers in the drive-thru. But you are liable via the courts for any damage it causes”. In Europe, I bet you there is a European Commission regulation on the maximum temperature coffee can be served to the public at.

        The flip side is that with no effective tort system (by design, regulations are supposed to cover these things); if you are left wanting by a company, there is little you can do. For instance, I had an issue where Spanair refused to honor their obligation to reimburse me for lost baggage; as stipulated by EU passenger rights. I sent a request to the regulator, who 6 months later told me it was under consideration, but due to the backlog, would not be approved to go the “next level up” for another 8 months.

        In the US, Small Claims court, solved in 2 months. If the company gets enough of these suits, they change their policy. Or if enough customer’s have the issue, lawyers get together and file a class action lawsuit for the big money.

        This is why if you are American, you should be wary of tort reform. Anything that limits the courts ability to align businesses self-interest with their customer’s, in a system where that is the primary regulatory mechanism, is very very scary. Instead of shitting themselved when Firestone discovers their tires fall apart and kill people; they’ll calculate the maximum (now capped) awards they’d have to pay out and decide if how that compares to having to make a public product recall.

        There’s overlap in both systems, as well as strength and weaknesses. You don’t want to leave food safety to self-policing (though we still do, way too much here).

        1. Point taken. Partly (on the “free market” ideal front), cause public life is somewhat less regulated than in the US (e.g. absurd zoning or obscenity laws, much higher chance of getting arrested for something, wacky and intruding anti-terror legislation).

          But: coffee is to be served as hot as possible here; personal responsibility is taken a bit more seriously, which is why we don’t have warning labels everywhere (except on American products). Any lawsuit like that would be laughed out of court (and regularly is). I’d say that for many common-sense issues Europeans need neither laws nor lawsuits, precisely because you can be reasonably expected to know what you’re doing. The number of laws (including absurd dead laws that can be used to nail somebody at the police’s leisure) in the US in unequaled anywhere.

          1. Both systems have weaknesses and unintended consequences. I’m a dual citizen and have hit my head against both. Laughable, multi-page waivers for silly things in the USA. Opaque do-nothing, consumer agencies in Europe.

            As for laws, yeah; selective enforcement is always a possibility in the States. Though one cool thing in the US is that our naturally bred  distrust of Government and (helpful) obsession in our Constitution; mean that most people have a pretty good grasp of their individual rights.

            I was in a nightclub raid in Madrid a year back; 40 police barred the doors, no one left until they were identified, searched and questioned. Probably 300 people in all. I’m a Spanish citizen and none of us had any idea what our rights to consent were. No one.

            France with its Napoleonic code is an even bigger mystery. Those CRS thugs look pretty menacing.

            I wonder if there’s a European version of the ACLU that prints a little “Your Rights” card. Actually, that would make a great phone app, a quick reference by EU country of your individual rights when dealing with police.

          2. Yeah, ladders sold in America are covered in warning labels. I tripped over one once, a label that is. 

          3. An American Courtroom; “Your honor, our client was never told they could NOT perform this action, and the product failed.”

            Other Countries “Your honor, our client was told they could perform this action, and the product failed.”

        2. Thank you, very enlightening. 

          In the United States, one can watch a commercial on how an automobile is rated highest in customer satisfaction then the next commercial is about extended warranties on that exact same car. 

          Where else in the world can a company be allowed to tout the near-perfectness of their laptops, yet make a substantial fortune selling in-house warranties at point of sale? Most customers end up having two warranties, the  manufacturers and the sellers, double coverage without coordination.

           The other major issue is P.O.S. add on’s. These are contractual purchases, being bundled into one, non contractual purchase (except to pay),  so your signature on the receipt represents more than one transaction. 

          A local hospital’s emergency room  got into trouble for this. Someone from the their financial department would visit every patient after admission (getting a bed) and get them to sign on one line for 14 agreements. Not good. Now I think they have to initial each one.

    2. Excellent. I’ve never filed a small claims case, I’ll do it soon against Century Link, if only to uncover the first recording of me signing up for services. 

  45. I bought a lemon from Dell that turned out ok (I’m typing on it now despite having bought it in 2007 or so) when I purchased one of their M1530s  that had a dodgy graphics card. To Dell’s credit though, they replaced the card, then replaced the new card again after that one also overheated and it became clear that my laptop was going insane, and they also replaced the lcd it took out when it overheated and paid for all repairs when I was about a month from the end of my warranty. Clearly, after seeing that this happened all the time with this model of laptop, they had some serious design issues but at that time at least they did give me pretty decent customer support. After a year of constant laptop repair, I have gotten several years of use from this laptop. I do not know what my next computer will be. I am much more terrified by the overwhelming cost of software than anything else.

    1. You are not mentioning the countless hours you wasted in the process, you should have received a brand new laptop if it was in fact “a lemon”. 

      So, you did pay, your time is worth something. But you seem to be pretty easy going too, you should see how some people freak out when the computer fails, their fault or not. 

  46. So what should Dell do when one of their techs does an inspection on a laptop and discovers signs of customer abuse? I used to work as an electronics tech for an industrial electronics manufacturer and doing warranty inspections was probably my least favorite duty. I hated denying warranty on something, but it was my job.

    I don’t see how this problem could have happened other than the owner slamming the screen down or dropping it. If it was done in manufacturing, it would have been dead on arrival. According to the blogger, it happened after three weeks of use. The fact is, Dell fixed the problem for free. What other laptop manufacturer would have fixed a broken LCD for free three weeks after purchase? Not even Apple would have done that. I’d love to hear a recording of the phone call between the blogger and Dell. I’d also like to see the inspection report. Usually these reports include photos detailing why warranty is being denied.

  47. It depends on the model I guess? I’ve been using a Dell Latitude D620 for about 6 years now and it still works beautifully! *knock on wood*

  48. My dell is six years old its a 1505 running win 7 pro.  Besides changing the inverter (which i did myself).  It is going strong, Ive owned a lenovo and mac and the dell is still the work horse of our family’s computing purpose’s.  You had a bad experience and anything you buy that’s under the manufacture’s one year warranty should be covered it’s like bumper to bumper warranty. Why they insisted that you would have to pay is beyond me.  I think we are only hearing one side of the story here.

  49. I have a Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop that I’ve dropped numerous times. Still runs as good as it did in 2006 when I got it.

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